Why Doctors Are Bad at Sex Ed

“Sexual health tends to fly under the radar because doctors share the same deep cultural discomfort about sex as their patients, O’Sullivan says. Many Canadians grow up with conflicting messages about sex as ‘this shameful thing’ that’s only legitimate if you’re in reproductive mode, and doctors are no exception, she adds. This taboo has contributed to a narrow focus in medicine on the negative consequences of sex over promoting healthy sex lives. When patients seek help for a problem like vaginal tearing from a lack of arousal, O’Sullivan explains, doctors will often hand them lubricants without asking if they’re having sex they don’t want or whether they were aroused at all.”

Lauren Vogel – The Walrus – December 2018

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Teaching Teens How to Have Good Sex

“Sometime in 2007, Lucia O’Sullivan, a psychology researcher at the University of New Brunswick, had lunch with a friend and colleague from campus. Her friend worked as a doctor at the university health centre, and for the past couple of years, she had noticed a concerning occurrence among young female students: they would come in for a routine gynecological exam saying nothing was wrong, and when the doctor looked, she would find vulvar fissures—small cuts on the women’s vulvas, often caused by lack of lubrication during intercourse. When she asked about these wounds, a number of patients would reveal that sex was often painful or uncomfortable but that they had never considered it a problem.”

Viviane Fairbank – The Walrus – December 2018

The Undoing of Ontario Sex Ed

“Kim Fry was at Mount Sinai Hospital in downtown Toronto for an appointment in 2015 when she first saw it on the news: hundreds of parents protesting Ontario’s incoming sex-ed curriculum on the lawn of Queen’s Park. Then premier Kathleen Wynne had just unveiled the revised document, which newly included discussions around consent and sexual and gender identities. It was the first update to the curriculum since 1998, and many parents wanted it gone.”

Erica Lenti – The Walrus – December 2018

How One Podcaster Got Us Talking about Sex

“When Kaitlin Prest first came to Toronto, she worked in her bathtub. She would climb in amid piles of pillows or piles of friends, spitballing ideas that would eventually become pieces of audio art. Sometimes she wore clothes, and sometimes not, just a girl and a computer monitor and a flip chart and an artful life. Before the bathtub, her office was a bed in New York City. But one day, two summers ago, sitting on the steps of a brownstone in Brooklyn, she got a call from an executive producer at the CBC. The producer wanted to talk about an offer: come home to Canada and use the resources of a major network. It meant a chance for Prest to make the podcast series about love that had been living in her mind for many years.”

Katherine Laidlaw – The Walrus – December 2018

Banana Road

“As I grew up, my country was struggling under government corruption and crime, and I said goodbye to it in 2013, when I left to study journalism in New Brunswick. But reading about Honduras this year from a distance, I had questions — questions that news stories didn’t seem to address: Why is there so much misery in a country so beautiful? Is there any reason to hope? I went back to Honduras to try to find out, to talk to ordinary people touched by the migration and to experts who’ve tried to understand it. ‘They don’t do a damn thing for us,’ Trump told supporters recently about Honduras and other Central American countries. Does he know, I wonder, what Americans have done in Honduras?”

María José Burgos – CBC News – December 2018

Homeland (Part 2)

“Joey Angnatok could show Cartier a few things. One of Nunatsiavut’s economic-development strategies is to become among the world’s most ‘in-demand circumpolar travel destinations.’ Should that come to pass, its Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism might want to consider hiring the 42-year-old hunter, fisherman, handyman, search-and-rescue worker, and occasional scientific researcher as a tour guide. After a few hours tagging along with him on a snowmobile trip out of town, what might look like so much waste and void comes, quite literally, alive. Angnatok—who runs the largest commercial fishing operation on the coast, with his 20-metre longliner, the MV What’s Happening—draws out the abundance for even the most untrained eye. ‘All these shorelines in the spring,’ he says, ‘just char everywhere, and seals, and every square foot of this shore is covered in mussels and kelp.'”

Matthew Halliday – The Deep – December 2018

Our Tarts, Ourselves

“Midland, Ontario’s third annual butter tart festival had drawn nearly 20,000 people, more than the town’s entire population. I was watching celebrity judges work their way through the homemade category at a local cultural centre, or half-watching them, since competitive baking turns out to be light on spectacle. Volunteers brought leftover pastry chunks out to the audience, each sample amending the standard sugar, syrup, butter, and eggs to follow this year’s “freestyle” theme—we had citrus, raspberry coconut, tarts embellished with pumpkin or pecan, another combining chocolate and peanut like a sturdier Reese’s Cup. Midland’s lone drag queen did her rounds, caramelized by bronzer.”

Chris Randle – Hazlitt – August 2015